Joseph Mallord William Turner

Bishop Auckland: The Deer House, Castle and Wear Valley


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 232 × 328 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLVI 20

Catalogue entry

This detailed two-page drawing is now correctly bound as a continuous composition with folio 16 recto opposite (D12307; CLVI 27), which shows Auckland Castle and its deer shelter. In this half, Turner looks west-south-west up the River Wear to the two arches of the medieval Newton Cap Bridge, now obscured from this direction by the Newton Cap Viaduct.
The overall view is a repetition of two sketchier studies in the Durham, North Shore sketchbook (Tate D12353, D12354; Turner Bequest CLVII 26a, 27), presumably made on the same occasion and ending a sequence of views in that book beginning at Tate D12345 (Turner Bequest CLVII 21a) following the course of the River Gaunless from south to north anti-clockwise around the castle towards the Wear.
There are similar views from a little further north on folios 26 verso–27 recto and 27 verso of the present sketchbook (D12304–D12306).
Technical notes:
Below the last part of Ruskin’s inscription, the number ‘27a’ (sic), referring to the other half of the drawing, is preceded by the initials of Edwin Fagg, the Tate Gallery’s Official Lecturer, who had supervised immediate restoration work on Turner Bequest works and compiled a report of the damage caused to them following the 1928 Tate flood.1
The number ‘20’ stamped on the present page is bracketed in Finberg’s Inventory with his page ‘19a’ as ‘Raby Castle’ but while the latter drawing (D12293; CLVI 19a), now bound as folio 31 verso, does show Raby, it is not continuous with this composition. Finberg correctly identified other views of Bishop Auckland in this book, and the confusion seems to have been one of numbering rather than subject.

Matthew Imms
February 2010

See National Gallery Millbank: Review of the Acquisitions during the Years July, 1927–December, 1929, London 1930, pp.8–9.

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